Current City, State, Country
Birth City, State, Country
Caleb Horowitz is a North Carolinian poet, academic, and teacher. His poetry is forthcoming in Verklempt! Horowitz writes in the fields of literary, Jewish, and pop culture studies, with publications analyzing Jewish themes and abstract representations of Jewishness in pop culture. His publications include “Far from the Last Airbender: Cultural Trauma Construction and Diasporic Reimaginings in Avatar and Korra” in A Scholarly Companion to the Avatar Franchise: Storytelling, Identity, Trauma, and Fandom (Bloomsbury, 2023) and “Mandalorian Midrash: Space Jews and Ancient Exegetical Analysis in Star Wars’s The Mandalorian” in Jews in Popular Science Fiction: Marginalized in the Mainstream (Lexington Books, 2022). Horowitz is also the writer of “As a Patrilineal Jew, I See Myself in the Golem,” for Hey Alma (2022). He is working on a novel about golems.
What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?
I first understood myself as a Jewish writer when I read a particular Jabès quote: “First I thought I was a writer, then I realized I was a Jew. Then I no longer distinguished the writer in me from the Jew because one and the other are only torments of an ancient world.” I don’t remember the context in which I read this quote, but I do know that it fundamentally changed the way I viewed my relationship with my writing. At the time, I was not a poet, but as I delved into writing poetry, the quote stuck with me. My poetry is animated by the contentious relationships I maintain—with Jewishness, with my obsessive-compulsive disorder, and with G-d. To be a Jewish writer necessitates a kind of haunting, a simultaneous obsession with the past and a fascination with the future, and an insistence that there is not a clear and easy distinction between the two. In my poetry, I mix the personal with the political and historical because it would be dishonest to attempt to analyze my Jewishness, my writing, or myself in a vacuum. I will admit that my writing approaches Jewishness with the same chaotic fervor I do. I pull from The Zohar without fully grasping the Torah. I wrestle with kabbalah while only sporadically observing Shabbat. My poetry reflects this contradiction.
University of North Carolina Wilmington, M.A.
University of North Carolina Wilmington, B.A.